By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An otherwise healthy Minneapolis man is fighting to breathe as he battles COVID-19.

As a 51-year-old IT analyst, James Cha had been working from home for months, keeping his kids close, and taking the COVID-19 precautions we all know so well.

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“It can happen to anyone. I’m a very healthy person,” Cha said.

But at the end of last month, he admits his family finally let their guards down.

“After the fishing trip, we went to the other family members’ house and had lunch without wearing a mask, no social distancing, we spent pretty much all day there,” he added.

Doctors believe that day on the dock ultimately lead to his struggle to breathe.

“On Wednesday, we all got tested and Thursday we all found out we got COVID,” Cha said.

In all, seven of his family members have tested positive since. What started as a scratchy throat, sent Cha to Abbot Northwestern days later with a high fever and dangerously low oxygen levels.

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“I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I pretty much eat healthy, but in my family I must have the weakest immune system,” he said.

Daily doses of Remdesivir through an IV, steroids to open his lungs, and cough drops have helped him turn the corner. He should be released tomorrow.

But, on this 17th day of his fight with COVID-19.

“Please wash your hands and wear a mask,” Cha said.

Cha hopes his story serves as a reminder that the threat is still real.

“Just take care of yourself and each other,” Cha said.

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Cha’s family started a GoFundMe, click here to donate. 

Liz Collin